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SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is #5 ranked solution in top Business Intelligence Tools. IT Central Station users give SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform an average rating of 8 out of 10. SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is most commonly compared to Microsoft BI:SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform vs Microsoft BI. SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 74% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 28% of all views.
What is SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform?

The SAP® BusinessObjects™ Business Intelligence (BI) platform is a flexible, scalable information infrastructure that helps you more easily discover and share insights for better business decisions. The integrated, unified infrastructure enables scalability from one to many tools and interfaces on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid approach.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is also known as SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform, SAP BusinessObjects, Business Objects.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Buyer's Guide

Download the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Customers

SRAM, Kennametal, Fairfax Water, British American Tobacco, Velux, and FedEx.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Video

Archived SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Reviews (more than two years old)

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MB
BI | Analytics | Insights | Leadership | Digital | Visualization Composer| Strategy | Design Language | BI Rehab
Real User
A solid, stable solution that when purchased in its full scope puts EVERY other Bi tool to shame

Pros and Cons

  • "It is solid and stable."
  • "Over the years, the product tends to rename and rebrand itself and change its direction. This is a deficit of the solution."

What is our primary use case?

I call it a big boys toy due to costs involved for full, not large, scale deployments. Due to SAP gobling up a multitude of products over the year, the integration issues have mostly all been resolved now and its mature platform whereby all the others are still playing catchup.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives you end to end view. You can build a dashboard or report and see full lineage even into etl and wrangling layers. Saving is made when you dont have to waste time integrating with a mirade of other tool sets.

What is most valuable?

Ive yet to find a bi tool that can match SAP’s offering, and Ive implemented all of them.

What needs improvement?

Over the years, the product tends to rename and rebrand itself and change its direction. This is a deficit of the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a solid product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter issues with scalability of the solution. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

My career has been filled with greenfield projects it bi rehab whereby I would replace a mess with SAP BO

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy because I specialize in implementation.

What about the implementation team?

I usually get called in as a specialist

What was our ROI?

No redoing if set up right, and thats usually issue with SAP BO deployments I get called in to mature.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Have a big wallet if you want to be serious

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Read gartner to your own detriment

What other advice do I have?

I advise someone considering this solution: Go big or go home!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user591984
Manager at a consumer goods company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It gives you a lot of flexibility in designing your dashboards. It still needs development from a visualization standpoint.

Pros and Cons

  • "It gives you a lot of flexibility in designing your dashboards."
  • "We use it to identify critical KPIs to senior management."
  • "The combination of Lumira along with Design Studio merger last year still needs development from a visualization standpoint."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for SAP BusinessObjects has been to provide users static dashboards and reports with a fixed trend where the analysis part is predefined in terms of a fixed set of visualizations.

We use it to identify critical KPIs to senior management, which automatically get circulated every morning.

How has it helped my organization?

We started receiving benefits from SAP BusinessObjects the first week we used it. 

What is most valuable?

It will give you better performance if your warehouse is also on SAP Business Warehouse. It gives you a lot of flexibility in designing your dashboards. For example, BusinessObjects Design Studio provides custom templates where you can create your own templates. You can also create your own custom charts. There are CSS formats which you can take in, then you can create your own color coding. Thus, a lot is possible. 

From a developer's point of view, it has definitely provided a lot of flexibility.

What needs improvement?

The combination of Lumira along with Design Studio merger last year still needs development from a visualization standpoint.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It depends a lot on how BusinessObjects has been installed and configured, because there are a lot of services which run in the background. For example, if I have not done the proper sizing at implementation in terms of allocating the right resources in terms of memory and RAM for the different services within BO to run, any analytic documents which are built on BO can get impacted in terms of their performance. Therefore, stability is good provided your sizing and configuration has been done properly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. Once it is set up in the mid-layer, multiple users can access it. Then, the product can grow into an enterprise-wide deployment.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for general issues gives us a good response, but for certain critical issues, it can takes four weeks to obtain a response. It will initially go to an SAP support team, and if they are not able to resolve the issues, then they will route the call to SAP in Germany. The German development team usually takes a bit more lead time to come back on those issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not that complex as SAP has all the documentation in place. However, initially, we went for suboptimal sizing, which in the first few months led to performance issues. We had to reconfigure, do the proper sizing, and give the right memory requirements to meet our performance expectations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
552,136 professionals have used our research since 2012.
LJ
Team Leader at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Extremely valuable for combining data from various sources, but UI is not user-friendly

Pros and Cons

  • "It has been extremely valuable, to combine data from various data sources."
  • "SAP BusinessObjects is actually losing popularity within our company because people find the user interface and the way things are set up not to be as easy as many other tools that are on the market, like Qlik and things like that."

What is our primary use case?

Management reporting and also some ad-hoc reporting.

How has it helped my organization?

During the first of the 10 years we used it, it was a very valuable reporting product. It really is the only product we have for reporting out of the data warehouse that we have. It has been extremely valuable, to combine data from various data sources.

What needs improvement?

SAP BusinessObjects is actually losing popularity within our company because people find the user interface and the way things are set up not to be as easy as many other tools that are on the market, like Qlik and things like that.

In addition, we would definitely like to be able, through the tool, to show more metadata, and access a data dictionary directly from the tool.

Also, a user should see data lineage, because we have found out that the abstraction being done in the Universes is sometimes too much for the more specific kind of users. They want to see the origin of the data.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is perfect.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is also very good.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not used technical support directly. We have a local specialist that we go to. It's easier.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The company implemented BusinessObjects 10 years ago. At that time, it was the best product on the market. A lot of things have changed in 10 years.

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor, if we're talking about a reporting tool, is the ease of use for the end-user as well as integration with other tools, like data dictionaries and data catalogs. That would make the underlying data more visible to the end-user. And, of course, price is important.

What other advice do I have?

Look at who will be your end-user group. Who is going to use the tool?

I would rate this solution at seven out of 10. Seen from the administrative and compliance point of view, it's an excellent tool for an enterprise. But I can't give it any more than that because the user interface for the average user is not very intuitive. You need too much training before you're able to use the tool effectively.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user543585
Technical Manager at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Allows our users to access reports and make business decisions based on them

Pros and Cons

    • "The admin features for disk space management need work. It's very difficult to manage the disk space by the application; good admin features and not included to allow you to do that. I don't believe that is in the latest version of the product either."

    What is our primary use case?

    It's used for business reporting and it performs well.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It allows hundreds of end-users to be able to access business reports and make business decisions based upon them.

    What is most valuable?

    It provides good centralized management, and it performs well against our day-to-day solution.

    What needs improvement?

    The admin features for disk space management need work. It's very difficult to manage the disk space by the application; good admin features and not included to allow you to do that. I don't believe that is in the latest version of the product either.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We find it's stable, very little down time, good level of performance.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's scalable simply by adding extra servers, application servers, so the scalability is good.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Our technical support is through a value added reseller.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We've been using Business Objects for a long time. The last time we did an upgrade from a client version to a browser-based version.

    When selecting a vendor, the most important criteria are the features of the product, that it is a good fit with our environment, and price will be a part of the consideration.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was complex because we were upgrading from a previous version with a different architecture.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate it about nine out of 10 because it performs well.

    Do a trial. Fully investigate all the ins and outs of the license as well.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Senior Business Analyst, Big data at a manufacturing company
    Real User
    Can process big volumes of data fast

    What is our primary use case?

    We mainly use SAP BO to do operation and financial reporting. More than 100 reports were created on it. User can easily access all reports through the BO web link (portal).

    How has it helped my organization?

    Because our ERP system is SAP ECC, and SAP BW is the data warehouse, BO is the best choice to integrate with either SAP ECC or SAP BW.

    What is most valuable?

    Good, powerful functions in the table format report compared with Microsoft Power BI. It can process big volumes of data fast.

    What needs improvement?

    It should have a better integration with Excel. Currently, we can use Explore to do data discovering, but cannot generate charts.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What is our primary use case?

    We mainly use SAP BO to do operation and financial reporting. More than 100 reports were created on it. User can easily access all reports through the BO web link (portal).

    How has it helped my organization?

    Because our ERP system is SAP ECC, and SAP BW is the data warehouse, BO is the best choice to integrate with either SAP ECC or SAP BW.

    What is most valuable?

    Good, powerful functions in the table format report compared with Microsoft Power BI. It can process big volumes of data fast.

    What needs improvement?

    It should have a better integration with Excel. Currently, we can use Explore to do data discovering, but cannot generate charts.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    David Hudgins
    Senior Business Intelligence Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    Enables quick data access without the need to involve a business or financial analyst

    Pros and Cons

    • "Through the use of Business Intelligence reporting and scheduling features, reports are generated and automatically sent according to a schedule. This has freed up countless hours spent performing the same tasks, month over month."
    • "Enables us to present data with Smart Objects that can be embedded within presentations and which automatically update when the presentations are run."
    • "Reporting from SAP Business Objects Web Intelligence is amazing, and gives users the ability to quickly access data from existing universes and/or relevant data sources, without the need to involve a functional business analyst or financial analyst."
    • "The biggest area for improvement would be the dashboarding capabilities due to the recent change from Xcelsius to Dashboard Designer. This has created a gigantic ripple in many companies because the skill sets required are drastically different."

    How has it helped my organization?

    In the past, customers - both internal and external - were crying for data towards the end or the beginning of month, for month-end reporting. Through the use of Business Intelligence reporting and scheduling features, these reports are generated and automatically sent to them according to a schedule. This has freed up countless hours spent performing the same tasks, month over month. 

    It also enables us to present data with Smart Objects that can be embedded within presentations and which automatically update when the presentations are run.

    What is most valuable?

    Depends on the use case. The reporting from SAP Business Objects Web Intelligence is amazing, and gives users the ability to quickly access data from existing universes and/or relevant data sources, without the need to involve a functional business analyst or financial analyst.

    When it comes to visualizations and discovery, SAP Explorer lets the user deep-dive into the data from a visual standpoint.

    What needs improvement?

    The biggest area for improvement would be the dashboarding capabilities due to the recent change from Xcelsius to Dashboard Designer. This has created a gigantic ripple in many companies because the skill sets required are drastically different.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Minor at most. As with any application that presents data within a business, stability is critical to the success of the application and it's validity. Building failovers and redundancies around major functions, like accessing reports, data connectivity, and user security, ensures system stability. However, even with the most perfect system and its redundancies, any business intelligence application can run into issues if the data is bad.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Not really. The SAP Business Intelligence platform is a global solution that can be scaled both vertically and horizontally, based on company needs. 

    How are customer service and technical support?

    SAP tech support is good. However, I prefer the use of the partners and communities like ASUG or SAPinsider to provide the support we need.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We previously used SQL Server Reporting Services because it was included with Microsoft Server and it was free. The reason we switched was because SSRS lacked the ability to do what we needed without involving IT.

    How was the initial setup?

    I always recommend using a partner or consultant to deploy SAP BI. Not because it's difficult to install, that part is actually pretty easy, but to properly configure and customize application services and toolsets.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Depending on your size, try to stick with SAP BusinessObjects BI Edge. Most people tend to overthink the licensing. Remember that one concurrent user means that one person can be performing a task at a given time. That does not mean that only one user can be on the system at a time, it means that only one person can be refreshing a report or designing a dashboard. There are tons of ways you can access your data or reports without consuming a license. I've seen cases where five concurrent licenses support thousands of users.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I reviewed a whole bunch of them, everything under the sun.

    What other advice do I have?

    Get a partner or consultant to help you configure and customize your deployment. And remember that there's no additional charge for a Development environment license, so build an additional development server.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    SAP Business Objects Lead Consultant at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    ​Provides autonomy for all the business users to develop their own reports

    Pros and Cons

    • "​Provides autonomy for all the business users to develop their own reports.​"
    • "​The report development tool called SAP Web Intelligence under the BI Launch Pad portal has been the most valuable feature."
    • "​It is a very good product, stable, and has good technical capabilities.​"
    • "​This product could be improved with Cloud Integrations and Predictive Analytics functions integration."

    How has it helped my organization?

    Autonomy for all the business users to develop their own reports.

    What is most valuable?

    The report development tool called SAP Web Intelligence under the BI Launch Pad portal.

    What needs improvement?

    This product could be improved with Cloud Integrations and Predictive Analytics functions integration.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is excellent.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It is not an expensive platform. The licensing is for a package of users starting at 10 users. Currently, it has an option of a Cloud Platform (SAP Analytics Cloud) which has a lower price than the on-premise platform, and you can buy individual licences per user.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated Cognos and OBIEE.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is a very good product, stable, and has good technical capabilities.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
    ITCS user
    Business Intelligence Applications Team Leader at a energy/utilities company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    It allows the analysis of business data and enables decisions based on the analysis.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It allows the analysis of business data and enables decisions based on the analysis."
    • "More thorough testing of Service Packs before release."

    What is most valuable?

    It allows the analysis of business data and enables decisions based on the analysis. I found the SAP suite of products powerful. They scale well for enterprise use, i.e., thousands of recipients of the output of the products as dashboards and/or reports.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It gets people off Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and sharing the same reports/dashboards, so departments receive the same figures for KPIs and company performance.

    This stopped the waste of time in management meetings, whereby people would spend a lot of time explaining different performance results (different Excel spreadsheets) so they could analyze results and plan to act on the results.

    What needs improvement?

    More thorough testing of Service Packs before release.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used Webi, Universe Designer, and Dashboards for 12 years. I’ve used Lumira for one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had stability issues, mainly with the integration of the SAP BI products with SAP’s EIM products (Data Services, Information Steward). We had some instability when applying patches and new releases.

    There was poor quality of the testing of new functionality introduced in new releases.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have not really had scalability issues. The readiness of the products for the enterprise was a strong point.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    Patchy. Depending on the product with the issue (eg WebI or Information Steward) the responses can be good (WebI) or awful (Information Steward).

    Technical Support:

    Technical support was hit and miss. Sometimes it was good. Other times it was awful. Especially when the problem raised was hard for them to reproduce. They often ask the same questions over and over.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We didn’t have a previous solution. We have pretty much been an SAP BI shop for a long time.

    How was the initial setup?

    Setup was quite complex due to the number of environments being used (Dev/SIT/UAT/Prod) and the integration between BI and EIM products. It is even harder now that we use SAP HANA.

    What about the implementation team?

    Implemented in-house.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Make sure you factor in plenty of time for regression testing as the way SAP release Service packs these days there is good (new functionality) and bad (lack of thorough testing) news.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Over the years, we have reviewed other BI products, such as IBM Cognos and Tableau. Some of them are also in use along with the SAP BI products.

    What other advice do I have?

    Check the number of intended users and which part of BI you are intending to introduce (reporting, analytics, etc.).

    Check out the free trial periods and see if there are options to use cloud computing versus installing it in your own data center.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Consultant
    It has a wide range of compatible operating systems and it was easy to install

    What is most valuable?

    Way of creating reports Ease of use Can connect to any database Create models with ease.

    How has it helped my organization?

    In our organization, they chose this product mainly due to its ease of use. They were also able to generate high revenue by identifying their backlog areas.

    What needs improvement?

    The calculation engine requires some improvement.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    For eight years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues with scalability.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    A 10 out of 10.

    How was the initial setup?

    I would say it's mostly straightforward, because it has a wide range of…

    What is most valuable?

    • Way of creating reports
    • Ease of use
    • Can connect to any database
    • Create models with ease.

    How has it helped my organization?

    In our organization, they chose this product mainly due to its ease of use. They were also able to generate high revenue by identifying their backlog areas.

    What needs improvement?

    The calculation engine requires some improvement.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    For eight years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues with scalability.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    A 10 out of 10.

    How was the initial setup?

    I would say it's mostly straightforward, because it has a wide range of compatible operating systems and also it was easy to install. The whole software is bundled and provided to the consumer.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's the best product in the market when it comes to reporting technology.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partnership doing consultations.
    Paul Grill
    President & CEO at Infosol Inc
    Real User
    Top 5
    Web Intelligence really stood out in terms of new features and overall significance compared to all the other tools in the suite.
    SAP just announced the release of the latest update of its BusinessObjects BI suite, namely BI 4.2 SP03, following the first release BI 4.2 SP02 back in March In both announcements, Web Intelligence really stood out in terms of new features and overall significance compared to all the other tools in the suite. On the one hand this should not be a surprise since it is the most popular and widely-used of all the SAP BusinessObjects Analytics tools but, on the other hand over the last few years SAP has focused far more attention on its newer analytics tools.  Web Intelligence is and has always been a Business Intelligence Query, Analysis and Reporting tool. The latest functionality additions emphasize that and to call it just a reporting tool is simply…

    SAP just announced the release of the latest update of its BusinessObjects BI suite, namely BI 4.2 SP03, following the first release BI 4.2 SP02 back in March

    In both announcements, Web Intelligence really stood out in terms of new features and overall significance compared to all the other tools in the suite. On the one hand this should not be a surprise since it is the most popular and widely-used of all the SAP BusinessObjects Analytics tools but, on the other hand over the last few years SAP has focused far more attention on its newer analytics tools. 

    Web Intelligence is and has always been a Business Intelligence Query, Analysis and Reporting tool. The latest functionality additions emphasize that and to call it just a reporting tool is simply a miss-classification and lack of understanding of its capabilities. Web Intelligence allows you to perform ad-hoc queries against both relational and OLAP data sources, slice and dice, drill-down, drill through, perform data discovery, create dashboard and scorecard visualizations and format amazing looking reports. It can be used on-line, off-line, on mobile (HTML5) and be published or exported to the most popular commodity formats. Many organizations use only Web Intelligence for all their BI needs or a combination of Web Intelligence and SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius).

    So in Web Intelligence 4.2, we have seen a ton of new functionality ranging from Shared Elements to allow you to save and reuse charts, tables and different parts of your reports  (with the metadata) to Linked Elements allowing you to integrate all types of third party charts and components. This included a series of integrated geo-maps which have been further enhanced in SP03 enabling you to use latitude and longitude as data points on the map and add custom locations.

    Another great Webi feature released with 4.2 was the commentary feature allowing you to collaborate around documents with context sensitive comments that are associated with just the document and stored in the audit logs or location of your choice. The commentary has been further enhanced in SP03 allowing you now to apply comments at the block level (charts or tables) and individual cell level in a table within the Webi report.

    Input Controls have become popular in Webi documents for providing an easy way to interact with a document that has been options and variables. Now with Webi 4.2 SP03, cascading input controls are supported with dynamic filtering of the list of values for nested selections.

    The Dynamic HTML (DHTML) client option of Webi has been enhanced adding features that were previously only available with the Java client including conditional formatting and support of XLS as a data provider, Query Panel support for UNX and support of complex filters in the Query Panel.

    Other new Webi 4.2 SP03 features include Merged Variables (combine a data provider and variable into a single object),  References (new object for a variable that returns the value of a specified cell in the document),  choosing the image density when exporting a document to PDF or Excel and further user interface enhancements  for customizing look and feel of charts, graphs and more.

    I am already seeing interactive Web Intelligence reports and dashboards that I would never have guessed were created in Webi because the customization capabilities are so vast.

    These are just a few of the highlights and there is even more being promised with future service packs. All-in-all, Web Intelligence has evolved into a one-stop shop for BI reporting, ad-hoc query and analysis that just keeps getting better.

    On the minus side, there is still a lot to be done on the mobile side to make Web Intelligence truly seamless between the desktop and mobile versions and I would like to see SAP pay a lot more attention to this.

    Also, while performance has improved with parallel query execution now being the default, there is still room for further improvement.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Developer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Consultant
    Sometimes we've encountered bugs, but able to get critical analysis in a fraction of time and run the business better.

    What is most valuable?

    The features that are most valuable are report and dashboard development, universe layer, ability to connect to a wide variety of data sources, ability to develop robust semantic layer, ability to combine different data sources and data federation.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Provides a platform for developing reporting that can be used by end users, which will give relevant, consistent and correct results. Also, ability to combine data, I created a report based on SAP data from BW and combined it with data from SQL server to be able to report on the data in a way that would not have been possible to do except with manual steps. The solution I built replaced a manual process that would take 3 weeks and provided an automated solution. We were able to get the critical analysis in a small fraction of time and able to run the business better as a result.

    What needs improvement?

    Can be a little buggy. As with any system you need to do the work to set up the foundation; nothing is as easy as you install it and all your problems are solved.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using this solution for 12 years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No issues with deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Sometimes encounter some bugs. SAP seems to have taken the approach of letting the users test the product lately.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No - the system is very scalable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    Customer service was average.

    Technical Support:

    Technical support was average.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I've developed many solutions to replace solutions using Access and Excel.

    How was the initial setup?

    Initial setup was straightforward.

    What about the implementation team?

    I've done implementations myself.

    What was our ROI?

    I'm not sure, as I've been part of projects as a part of the larger organization. In general, it could be very high or very low. I know that BOBJ is costly - so you would need projects to justify the cost.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Not sure haven't been involved in this aspect.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    No.

    What other advice do I have?

    Definitely cost justify it. If you have a lot of manual processes involved in getting the reporting that you need, then this product will definitely help. You can cut out all the manual steps.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user489897
    Consultant BI at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    You can use Universe Designer to manage joins or derived tables as you wish.

    What is most valuable?

    Universe Designer is the product's most valuable feature because you can manage joins or derived tables as you wish.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The business can create their own reports and dashboards.

    What needs improvement?

    Maybe they can improve some features in report designer, like the possibility of associating colors with the dimensions. For example, if you could associate blue with the dimension "France", red with "United States", etc.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used this solution for a year and a half.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have not yet encountered any issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I have not yet encountered any issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I rate them 9/10. Very good and very fast support from SAP.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I used Jaspersoft and I changed at the same time as I changed jobs.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    I think the pricing and licensing is expensive, but the tool is aimed at the big companies.

    What other advice do I have?

    If the business case calls for creating static reports/dashboards, this tool is awesome. If the business case is for dynamic reports/dashboards, I don't recommend it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user494226
    Architect with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Great suite with a lot of different options and a great user interface. Requires improvement on stability and scalability.

    What is most valuable?

    I guess most customers seek SAP BOBJ for its visualization and intuitive user experience.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Most of the customers where we implemented SAP BOBJ have used Analysis for Office because it uses Excel as its base and it increases efficiency. Mostly, we have seen businesses run faster because they use SAP BOBJ.

    What needs improvement?

    Of course, there is always room of improvement:

    • The SAP BOBJ suite needs to be more stable and seamlessly integrated with SAP BW and SAP HANA (one-time variable creation, etc.).
    • I would like to see one tool that combines all of the capabilities, be it ad-hoc, formatted, dashboarding, etc. I guess SAP Design Studio is that right tool.
    • More OLAP functionality should be added, so that adding key figure characteristics can be done directly on the reporting side.
    • Also, I think one major confusion that all customers have is what tool to use and when? It would be a good idea to slim down the options to make customers’ lives easier.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is a really great suite with a lot of different options and a great user interface, but requires improvement on stability and scalability.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a SAP Partner.
    VP
    Applexus Technologies at a tech company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    The CSS editor saves time. Complex requirements can be met using JavaScript.

    What is most valuable?

    • Design Studio is very flexible because we can use JavaScript.
    • We can use CSS styles for stunning visualization.

    How has it helped my organization?

    • Design Studio is a highly optimized tool for integrating with SAP BW and SAP HANA. Obviously, that increases reporting performance.
    • Complex requirements can be met using JavaScript.
    • The CSS editor saves time.

    What needs improvement?

    In Design Studio version 1.6, when creating a custom geo map component, we are not able to associate a shape layer with data sources.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We have used all the business objects tools, but this one satisfies all of the business requirements in an optimized way.

    How was the initial setup?

    It’s a straightforward and simple tool to install.

    What about the implementation team?

    It was a simple to implement after we met the prerequisite before installing it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user494061
    SAP Certified BI, BOBJ, BODS Consultant at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    It provides a unified view of business processes across the organization, and helps control massive amounts of information.

    What is most valuable?

    Data integration 64-bit architecture

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see the capability to directly access social media data.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using it for 14 years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We have encountered so many issues when the architecture and design was fragile.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is 10/10.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I previously used Microsoft DTS. Microsoft BI products are ideal for small-scale businesses. whereas SAP BusinessObjects is suitable for enterprise-level implementation.

    How was the initial setup?

    If you have the skills and time, initial setup will be easy.

    What about

    What is most valuable?

    • Data integration
    • 64-bit architecture

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see the capability to directly access social media data.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using it for 14 years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We have encountered so many issues when the architecture and design was fragile.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is 10/10.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I previously used Microsoft DTS. Microsoft BI products are ideal for small-scale businesses. whereas SAP BusinessObjects is suitable for enterprise-level implementation.

    How was the initial setup?

    If you have the skills and time, initial setup will be easy.

    What about the implementation team?

    I worked for both vendor teams and in-house teams. I have been involved in the implementation of complex BI solutions on the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise platform in major USA and Canadian companies across different industries.

    For successful implementation, you need a technical expert who has specialized in the area of Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) with in-depth knowledge of the data warehouse lifecycle processes (DWH design and ETL development) and extensive hands-on experience with both the SAP Enterprise Information Management (SAP Data Services) technology stack and the SAP BusinessObjects reporting products stack (IDT, Universe, Web Intelligence, Designer, Dashboards).

    The manager should be from the in-house (for decision making) team and the technical experts should be from the outside (vendors and consultants).

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    SAP has different kinds of licensing for mid-size to large enterprises.

    What other advice do I have?

    If you want to implement SAP Analytical applications, you need skilled resources with clear requirements.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user494013
    SAP Business Objects Architect at a tech company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    The Designer gives developers a powerful way to encapsulate business logic and push it out to users. Their data visualization products should be enhanced, made more robust and easier to implement.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Ease of report development is a key feature."
    • "I would like to see their data visualization products enhanced and made more robust and easier to implement."

    What is most valuable?

    Ease of report development is a key feature. Also, installation is largely automated. The nicest part of BOE remains the semantic layer (Designer), giving developers a powerful way to encapsulate business logic and push it out to users through Webi or WRC.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Because I am primarily an installation and configuration architect working independently through a separate company, the product itself doesn't necessarily affect us in a BI sense. That's really the big-picture issue within our community; that companies often misunderstand how BI is supposed to work and that in order for the business to really participate, there needs to be sufficient training and the cultivation of a "culture of BI".

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see their data visualization products enhanced and made more robust and easier to implement. Most of the other parts of the tool are fairly easy to get going and it would help getting user buy-in if they could extend that across the entire platform.

    Like we always say, the tool is only as good as the person using it. But SAP sort of dropped the ball with their 4.x release, leaving out features that we had become used to with 3.1, which was stable.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We started with Crystal Enterprise 10 eleven years ago, transitioning through BOBJ R2, XI and now 4.x.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    BOE 4.2 is currently pretty stable in our experience and we already know that it can scale to any level. The only downside to that is cost.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    My personal experience with the SAP engineers is that they are very supportive and develop personal connections easily.

    How was the initial setup?

    Depending on whether you are doing a simple, one-machine install (single-stack) or clustering according to the sizing recommendations from SAP, it can go from easy to more difficult. But the process is thoroughly documented.

    What about the implementation team?

    We are more or less the vendor team for our clients.

    Always determine your prerequisites before you kick off remotely or onsite. It can save a lot of grief. Have a detailed SOW and project plan that you adhere to as much as possible, but be flexible.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    We are operating in the Electronic Health Record space using Epic and BOE for reporting. Just work with SAP to make sure you have enough licenses but don't go overboard.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I've evaluated other visualization tools, but BOE still has the best out-of-the-box enterprise security.

    What other advice do I have?

    Planning is critical.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an SAP Partner.
    it_user101874
    IS/IT program manager at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    It gives power to users, who can create their own queries without needing IT services.

    What is most valuable?

    The SAP BusinessObjects product suite is made of different products. This review refers to the Web Intelligence product.

    The user friendliness of the interface enables non-IT-literate persons to create their own queries without need SQL knowledge, and that has been the case a very long time. (I started to use BO in 1990.)

    How has it helped my organization?

    It gives power to the user, who can create his/her own queries without needing IT services, therefore leading to savings. However, it must be noted that the semantic layer (Universe) must be built carefully by IT staff with the full collaboration from beginning to end of future key users in order to be intuitive and user friendly. The training given to the user community and the documentation is also extremely important, so that the users know what objects they can combine together.

    What needs improvement?

    Since I started using BO, the desktop version gave way to the web version. The beginning of the web version (Web Intelligence) was a little bit chaotic, with some key functionalities present in the desktop version forgotten in the web version (like custom groupings, double scaling...) However, these functionalities are finally back. I think SAP should listen more and better to its customers.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have 25+ years experience of working with SAP BusinessObjects, combining SAP and non-SAP data in BO and I also have started to use QlikView and roll it out in our organization. I hold the function of BI director now and develop an entire reporting strategy for a multinational organization.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I encountered stability issues. The beginning of the web version was very chaotic. It look a long time for Web Intelligence to open, refresh and so on. We regret that versions that are initially released do not seem to be well finished (a lot of bugs), and that a lot of patching is necessary to get to a stable version (our experience for BOXIR3, BI4 and so on).

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I did not encounter any scalability issues. It is easy to deploy (weblink). But in order to be able to use the query panel, users must ensure that the Java component is installed.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is quite OK.

    How was the initial setup?

    Initial setup is straightforward.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    I cannot give any advice on this, as I am not involved at all in this issue, but depending on the licensing model used, this product can be quite expensive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We considered Oracle Discoverer, MS BI, but BO was chosen for its flexibility of usage.

    What other advice do I have?

    The reporting tool is easy to use and implement. Overall, you should consider how this tool is going to be implemented in your organization, and what added value it will bring to your organisation (e.g., do you have a lot of people doing a lot of reports in Excel). Finally, a decision whether or not to use BusinessObjects Web Intelligence should not be taken on its own but rather as a part of how information is managed in the organization.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user434961
    Business Intelligence Consultant at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Consultant
    I use the SAP Business Objects as an analytics platform useful for investigations of data in enterprises databases.

    What is most valuable?

    In my position, it's very important to define data models in order to develop a solution that provide end users with the ability to freely analyze data. That's why the Information Design tool of Business Objects is the most valuable feature. But I also use the Web Intelligence feature for testing my personal data models.

    How has it helped my organization?

    For a recent project, I used the BI Workspace module of Business Objects. I found it to be very helpful in providing specific home pages for different user groups. Thanks to this module, I can define a home page for a particular audience.

    What needs improvement?

    I encountered an issue with security. When I promoted the association between the CMC security profile and the Security Universe profile as I took our application from dev to test to production, I noticed that the associations were lost. This forced me to newly associate all over again.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used Business Objects for four years for various projects.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    I've had no issues with deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Yes, sometimes the services didn't work well, generating a decreasing of performance.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I've had no issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    In my experience, customer service it good.

    Technical Support:

    In my experience, technical support is good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Yes, I used other solutions, but I chose Business Objects because it's easy to use.

    How was the initial setup?

    I wasn't involved in the initial setup.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Shahid Latif
    Business Intelligence Analyst at a engineering company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    I can perform reliable satisfactory work for my clients with minimal issues.

    What is most valuable?

    The features that I think are valuable in SAP Business Objects - BOBJ (WEBi, BI Launch Pad, Rich Client) are the drill down capabilities to the nitty gritty lowest level, and perform an in depth analysis from different angles. Other products may also have this, but I believe with BOBJ, it is a lot better.

    How has it helped my organization?

    By giving more options of looking at the same scenario, in various forms, I can perform reliable satisfactory work for my clients with minimal errors. I believe this product has gained the market share well enough to call itself, the market leader.

    What needs improvement?

    SAP should work on performing the deployment and-post implementation support, a bit easier . I believe that would be a solid enough ground for this product to gain more pieces in the pie (market share). Also, they need to have more "Step-By-Step" documentation available for consultants, similar to what others have e,g. IBM.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    7+ years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    None, for the most part.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There have been no issues scaling it for our needs.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    N/A

    Technical Support:

    N/A

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have also used Bi-Query, Micro Strategy, Cognos, Tableau, etc. I like SAP BO better than other ones.

    How was the initial setup?

    N/A

    What about the implementation team?

    N/A

    What was our ROI?

    N/A

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    N/A

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    N/A

    What other advice do I have?

    None.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user434871
    SAP BO/BI Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    BI launch pad to design and develop the analysis application for the business is valuable.

    What is most valuable?

    Publication Webi Reports UDT CMC BI launch pad to design and develop the analysis application for the business

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for over seven years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Lot of issues, because it is a huge product.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Lot of issues, because it is a huge product.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Lot of issues, because it is a huge product.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Sometimes it's average, and sometimes it's excellent.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No other solution was in place.

    How was the initial setup?

    It can be easy or complex depending upon…

    What is most valuable?

    • Publication
    • Webi Reports
    • UDT
    • CMC
    • BI launch pad to design and develop the analysis application for the business

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for over seven years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Lot of issues, because it is a huge product.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Lot of issues, because it is a huge product.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Lot of issues, because it is a huge product.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Sometimes it's average, and sometimes it's excellent.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No other solution was in place.

    How was the initial setup?

    It can be easy or complex depending upon the scenario and complexity of your data warehouse.

    What about the implementation team?

    We've done it both ways, you need to make sure you have a good implementation plan.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It is more suitable for huge businesses from a pricing/licensing point of view.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is the best product for business analysis and help to grow the business.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user440979
    Network Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Provided us with best practice reports out of the box for various modules. It wouldn't scale when we needed to handle over one terabyte of data.

    Valuable Features:

    • Universe Designer - I use single interface for all the BI users who access/create ad hoc and canned report
    • SDK - important because we architected and designed a BI Product for 200+ customers using SDK
    • Lifecycle management tools - We keep releasing new versions of our product based on customer requirements/changes requests depending on product changes.
    • Multi-source connectivity - Extended the same BI product to support analytics/reporting on other applications/sources from same portfolio.

    Improvements to My Organization:

    It's provided us with best practice reports out of the box for various modules. 
    As well as an interface for creating adhoc reports with more analytical capabilities. This now allows us to exporting/share data in various formats (Excel, PDFs etc.)

    Room for Improvement:

    We do not have self-service BI tools which would enable SAP to compete with tools like Tableau and Qlikview. Reports/Dashboards on RDBMS cannot handle or scale the demands of the latest data analytics solutions.

    Use of Solution:

    I've used this solution for over 10 years.

    Deployment Issues:

    For deployment, SAP Business Objects has lifecycle management tools. It comes with features such as revert changes and automatic backup which helped us.

    Stability Issues:

    We had no issues with the performance.

    Scalability Issues:

    It wouldn't scale when we needed to handle over one terabyte of data.

    Customer Service:

    Customer service was found to be satisfactory.

    Initial Setup:

    SAP Business Objects when compared to Linux/AIX/Sun-Solaris is complex to install on Windows due to version/patch issues, and we had to put in requests for patches. Business users who used Web Intelligence were able to find some Java script plug-ins that needed to be installed.

    Implementation Team:

    We communicate with a vendor team as part of all our evaluations and implementations. This provides clarifications, resolutions, and additional features but mostly it was implemented an in-house by team.

    Other Solutions Considered:

    It is dependent on our customer needs/requirements, and specific version with specific features were available. We also evaluated Tableau for its technical features, as per business user requirements, pricing, and licensing for choosing the product and also based on outcome of the Proof of Concept.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user456411
    SAP BI AMS Lead at a consumer goods company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    In my experience, the Analytics module provides the business the ability to make the appropriate decisions.

    Valuable Features

    In my experience, the Analytics module provides the business the ability to make the appropriate decisions for improving our organization.

    Improvements to My Organization

    It provided our customer and their users usage of the product, and enable their planning team to be able to plan their stock availability accordingly.

    Room for Improvement

    It needs to be more user friendly for web use. Its integration into social media platforms needs to be easier.

    Use of Solution

    I've used this solution for approximately 10 years.

    Deployment Issues

    There are issues with deployment, but only during new rollouts. Once the product development team fix the issues and provide customers with support packs, we are good.

    Stability Issues

    We had no issues with the performance.

    Scalability Issues

    It's been able to scale for our needs.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    You have to pay to get the good service. The really nice thing about is that tech support is performed across the globe, so timezones doesn’t get into picture.

    Initial Setup

    It's straightforward but you need the expertise.

    Implementation Team

    We have done implementation using both in—house and vendor teams. If you are using a vendor, make sure it is done by one vendor, else it will be hard to get a good quality end product.

    Other Solutions Considered

    I did a partial evaluation as every solution has its pros and cons.

    Other Advice

    This works only for medium to large scale companies due to the high cost.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are partners with SAP.
    ITCS user
    BI Expert with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    New features and more efficient install add value

    What is most valuable?

    Semantic Layer (Universes), ease of use New Undelete of Public objects.. New Dashboard of overall environment

    What needs improvement?

    Java Applet still relying on the quirkiness of Java VM, and potential version mis-matches.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    10+ Years

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    With proper planning and understanding of the application landscape the deployment is fairly straight forward. Better to do a new install if you have multiple updates and patches...better to build from scratch vs remodel

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Highly scalable, new configuration wizard with 4.1 version assists in scaling correctly.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer…

    What is most valuable?

    Semantic Layer (Universes), ease of use

    New Undelete of Public objects..

    New Dashboard of overall environment

    What needs improvement?

    Java Applet still relying on the quirkiness of Java VM, and potential version mis-matches.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    10+ Years

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    With proper planning and understanding of the application landscape the deployment is fairly straight forward. Better to do a new install if you have multiple updates and patches...better to build from scratch vs remodel

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Highly scalable, new configuration wizard with 4.1 version assists in scaling correctly.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    Fair

    Technical Support:

    Fair to Poor..Business Objects sometimes gets lost in the quagmire of SAP

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No

    How was the initial setup?

    Depends on the deployment. Can be very complex in a 100% fail over/fault tolerant/load balanced scenario.

    What about the implementation team?

    I deploy for clients.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    No

    What other advice do I have?

    Use a consulting firm with expertise in deployment.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user434979
    Project Lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Consultant
    It provides every feature you're looking for to perform OLAP and OLTP-based transactional and analytical reporting.

    Valuable Features:

    It provides every feature you're looking for to perform OLAP and OLTP-based transactional and analytical reporting.

    Improvements to My Organization:

    We've used it for some time now, and it's an SAP product that gets more and more mature with each new upgrade or version.

    Room for Improvement:

    There are definitely some areas of improvement (i.e. interface, etc.), just as every product needs improvements to meet changing demands over time.

    When you test and find a bug, you raise a ticket with SAP - which gets fixed by support either because you don't know how to apply the features or it gets fixed with the next patch from their product development team. Also, apart from this, every quarter service pack enhancements come onto the market.

    Deployment Issues:

    We've had no issues with deployment.

    Stability Issues:

    We've had no issues with stability.

    Scalability Issues:

    We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user431760
    Sr. SAP HANA / BI Developer with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    ​The combination of IDT and Web Intelligence has taken some of the burden of report creation off of our central data team. The scalability of Design Studio when using crosstabs is an issue.

    What is most valuable?

    I use IDT and Web Intelligence the most to enable self service and ad-hoc reporting capabilities for our end users. When building a dashboard with defined KPIs, I'll use Design Studio as it gives a clean and uniform look.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The combination of IDT and Web Intelligence has taken some of the burden of report creation off of our central data team. The corporate team has the task of creating sound, reusable universes, and we give 'superusers' out in the business the ability to create their own Web Intelligence reports using these universes. in this way, the business is able to develop the reports they feel would be valuable, and if a different view/additional data is needed, the corporate team would fulfill that need.

    What needs improvement?

    IDT and Web Intelligence are pretty mature products, and have many features that make them adaptable. Design Studio in combination with SAP HANA as a source can be valuable although when using crosstabs, database calls become costly. I would expect this functionality to change to better utilize returned data sets in the future. Lumira is also a promising tool, but at this point still feels inferior to Tableau. SAP continues to pour money into this visualization solution, and claims that in the near future will be more feature rich than it's competitor.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used Business Objects for about four years, versions 3.1 and 4.1.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We've had no issues with the deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We've had no stability issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The only issue that comes to mind with the toolset is the scalability of Design Studio when using crosstabs as I stated before. When defining a dataset for a crosstab, you are locked in to that 'view' of the dataset and are unable to create a second view of the data with different dimensions from the same source - you must call the database again to accomplish this.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer support is responsive, the SAP help forums also have an extensive amount of knowledge and help if your organization does not have a support agreement with SAP.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Our organization also uses Tableau in some instances when we need to query several data sources/views for one dashboard because of performance. However we usually try to use Business Objects because of the synergy we find with SAP systems as a data source as well as the data security options available in SAP HANA.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was not involved in the technical set up of the tools.

    What other advice do I have?

    We used this product for years with Teradata as the datasource, but much can be gained by using SAP HANA as the source if possible - not only in performance but also in data security and not requiring a universe for a few of the tools.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Manager of Architecture/Design at a government with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    License price is prohibitive and it should go back to CPU based. Connectivity with databases is good.

    What is most valuable?

    Universal concept Connectivity with databases Good visualization

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's improved decision making process.

    What needs improvement?

    Better visualization Better portal License price is prohibitive should go back to CPU based Improve customer service.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for five years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    There were no issues with the deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had no issues with the stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I've had no issues scaling it.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Not good. SAP does resolve issues in time.

    Which solution did I use

    What is most valuable?

    • Universal concept
    • Connectivity with databases
    • Good visualization

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's improved decision making process.

    What needs improvement?

    • Better visualization
    • Better portal
    • License price is prohibitive should go back to CPU based
    • Improve customer service.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for five years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    There were no issues with the deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had no issues with the stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I've had no issues scaling it.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Not good. SAP does resolve issues in time.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We are retiring SAP Business Object Webi and Xcelsius, they will be replaced by IBI Web Focus.

    How was the initial setup?

    The security set up is complex, and there are compatibility issues with Internet Explorer.

    What about the implementation team?

    We built some dashboards and an application brought some reports out of the box.

    What was our ROI?

    It is too expensive, charging by user and if you have hundreds of them you won’t be able to get ROI not even in many years.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Be careful with the license model. If you want to promote personal BI or ability to run your reports in disconnect/passive mode this is not the product.#

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user431775
    Principal Architect - Business Objects / Datawarehouse at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    The ad hoc capabilities using Web intelligence over universe is very productive.

    What is most valuable?

    I would say universe designer as I have used or looked at other vendor tools and they don't even come close. Semantic layer is their main heart of SAP Business Objects.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Not one tool can satisfy everyone, and this tool is no different but in my opinion the ad hoc capabilities using Web intelligence over universe is very productive as users can self serve themselves

    What needs improvement?

    The Dashboard tool Current Xcelsius is not so user and developer friendly and is very bad compared to other vendor products. It has been wonderful but they have to integrate it with the Big Data economy system to sustain it.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    This particular version six years, but I have been using Business Objects before SAP acquired for over 16 years ago.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We had no issues with the deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    There have been no stability issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    8/10

    Technical Support:

    8/10

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    It has been wonderful but they have to integrate it with the Big Data economy system to sustain it.

    How was the initial setup?

    It's straightforward.

    What about the implementation team?

    In house with a little help from professional services.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Pricing and licensing is competitive with other solutions.

    What other advice do I have?

    Keep an eye upgrade and converting cost especially with deprecated tools like desk and it's reports, make consolidation of reports and universes and other objects early on .advise you to do user inbox,personal doc spring and fall clean up to make future upgrades easier

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user430635
    Senior Managing Consultant at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Consultant
    Dashboards are one of the best features of SAP BO tools.

    What is most valuable?

    SAP Business Warehouse for its pre-built BI standard contents as it contain best practices generally and specific to industries both. Also standard analytic reports are very valuable.

    SAP BO because of its functionalities, ad-hoc reporting, drill down, formatted reporting features. SAP BO tools like Explorer and Lumira for data explorer and trends.

    All these things have benefit the main stakeholders to check and observe the trends and take the decision for the betterment of the company. Dashboards are one of the best features of SAP BO tools.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It helped the organization in analysis. It always helps the C level and upper management in monitoring the progress of the company by using dashboards and reports which contain important KPIs and trends. Based on such things, then main stakeholders take the decision for the betterment of the company.

    What needs improvement?

    Of course every product needs some room for improvement but currently nothing is coming to my mind. However, because SAP lacks a professional services offering, we had issues with deployment, stability, and scalability. Also, the initial setup had a medium level of complexity, so it should be done by someone with relevant knowledge.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for eight years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    There were issues because they lack professional services.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    There were issues because they lack professional services.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There were issues because they lack professional services.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    8/10

    Technical Support:

    8/10

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Because of its features and ease for adoption for the user. IT become strategic after adopting these tools.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was on medium level.

    What other advice do I have?

    Have a capable resource who knows how to work and have a good knowledge and experience in the relevant field.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're partners
    it_user430596
    Sr. System Analyst at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    It does not require any additional plugins like for the other ETL tools.​ I would like to see its data handling improved.

    Valuable Features:

    SAP Business Objects Data Services is user friendly and easy to learn. It is easy to connect to SAP ECC or SAP BW, and does not require any additional plugins like for the other ETL tools.

    Improvements to My Organization:

    Our organization uses SAP BI tools, and Qlikview for building reports for our doctors and other teams. It has helped us to build an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). It helps the BI teams to build reports over this warehouse.

    Room for Improvement:

    It needs some improvement in its performance. It handles our data great as we do not process much data daily, but we are going to process huge amounts of data. I don't think it can handle well when compared to other ETL tools. I would like to see its data handling improved.

    Deployment Issues:

    We've had no issues with deployment.

    Stability Issues:

    We've had no issues with stability.

    Scalability Issues:

    We've had no issues with scalability.

    Other Advice:

    I think this product is best if we are not loading huge data. Also for its easy to use and learn.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Senior BI Project Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    It provides easy administration of content using web based CMC application.

    Valuable Features

    • It provides centralized access for business users to all enterprise reporting content. This includes SSO access, reports with content personalization and tools for ad hock data access (Web Intelligence, Lumira)
    • Customers highly benefit from Semantic Layer applications – they successfully hide the complexity of the databases and provide possibility to build queries using business vocabulary
    • It provides easy administration of content using web based CMC application
    • It provides scheduling, publishing capabilities of Business Objects reports

    Improvements to My Organization

    My company creates SAP Business Objects based solutions for many customers in the Middle East. The benefit customers have is easy access to their company’s information, simple ad hoc reporting tools, and the possibility to share created reports by using the portal.

    Stability Issues

    There are a lot of stability related issues with all SAP BI products, especially compared with similar Oracle, Cognos or QlickView tools. This has a huge impact to BI implementation projects and overall customer satisfaction. Especially big issues are coming in SAP BW/BO integration project. Though SAP had acquired BusinessObjects quite long time ago still they did not manage to integrate their older SAP Business Warehouse with Front end BusinessObjects tools.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    SAP Support is next to useless in many cases. Out of more than 100 tickets created by a project team in one of my projects, only less than a third was resolved by SAP support personnel. The resolution of tickets usually takes a long time. SAP engineers are mostly working from India, in a different time zone, and seem to be more interested in demonstrating proactivity by asking customers to perform various tests or activities which don't seem to be related with the original issue the customer has. Some of the questions they ask demonstrate that they have little knowledge about the products they are trying to support. In my biggest SAP BI/BW implementation project at British American Tobacco, SAP support asked me to demonstrate issues we were having with the Analysis For OLAP product, however after a call in a meeting, the minutes he had written said that we were having Web Intelligence session issues.

    Other Advice

    It is definitely useful as an integrated platform for medium or large enterprises which require a modern information management solution. It is definitely not without issues, but looks like SAP has a clear vision about where they want to get and that vision is supported by the customers.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user426543
    SAP BW on HANA/BO Consultant at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    The Web Intelligence reports are the most valuable feature because they have the flexibility for detailed data analysis.

    Valuable Features

    • Web Intelligence reports because they have flexibility for detailed data analysis
    • Dashboard designer for managerial reports
    • OLAP Analysis reports for ad-hoc analysis.

    Improvements to My Organization

    We were able to combine data from two different sources and compare and identify data discrepancies thereby enabling us to correct the data.

    Room for Improvement

    It needs to become more user friendly. Currently, it is very cumbersome to use.

    Use of Solution

    I've been using it for seven years.

    Deployment Issues

    We have no issues with the deployment.

    Stability Issues

    Some database issues were encountered, but SAP has vastly improved on technical support for Business Objects over the last three to four years.

    Scalability Issues

    We've been able to scale it for our needs.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    It's good, and around three to four years ago, SAP’s technical support was not up to the mark. Now SAP it is reliable and fast.

    Initial Setup

    It's complex and has technical challenges.

    Implementation Team

    We achieved the implementation in-house with hard work and technical support.

    Other Solutions Considered

    We went with it because my organization already had SAP deployed as the corporate ERP.

    Other Advice

    Go ahead with it -- it’s a good product.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    VishalGuthula
    Sr. Software Engineer at a tech company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    Top 5Leaderboard
    The security features and flexibility of the product are the most valuable functions of BO. They need to improve the processing of software as it has lag when it initially starts.

    What is most valuable?

    The security features and flexibility of the product are the most valuable functions of BO.

    How has it helped my organization?

    BO helps our organization make important business decisions with the data it provides. It has great integration with an ERP solution.

    What needs improvement?

    They need to improve the processing of software as it has lag when it initially starts.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for four and a half years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We had no issues deploying it.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    There are some issues with the stability, but this is improving.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have had no issues scaling it for our need.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The tech support is pretty good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I've been using it for a long time.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is pretty straightforward.

    What other advice do I have?

    The implementation is much more fun when you know what kind of requirements you're going to process I think it is the best product on the market as it has good integration with ERP.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We have a business relationship.
    it_user415908
    BI & Data Lead, Reporting & Analytics Center of Excellence at a consumer goods company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Most of its tools are also data source agnostic which makes them versatile across all environments.

    What is most valuable?

    Ability for the user to easily schedule the reports and managing them is a big plus. Most of BOBJ tools are also data source agnostic which makes them versatile across all environments.

    WebIntelligence, Analysis for Office, and SAP Lumira were designed for businesses. So the adoption rate by the is very high. Quick intuitive analysis of data, and in just a few clicks WebI and Lumira can Merge Dimensions from different sources.

    How has it helped my organization?

    • Lot of Automation of routine reports. Analysts can now focus on analysis rather than pulling in reports from multiple places.
    • Scheduling of the reports makes sure we are not duplicating work across all regions for the same report.
    • Brings in standardization.
    • Self-Service BI or DIY-BI
    • Reports are easily available on Mobile devices

    What needs improvement?

    • Reusability of the reports and tables from between the different tools
    • Improvements needed in charting
    • Direct and easy integrations to easily bring in data from other applications across all the tools like Salesforce, reading RSS streams etc. and not just other databases
    • Big data source support across all tools.
    • Bringing Predictive Analysis to the main stream

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using it for 12+ years, and all the other products since their inception.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We had no major issues.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had no major issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There have been no issues with the scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    First level support is generally is good for basic issues. Second level support is informative when it comes to bigger issues.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    The BOBJ solution was so ingrained within the organization, and powerful that there was no necessity to change.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was smooth.

    What about the implementation team?

    Did both cases. Even if you have an external vendor, make sure you who have an experienced lead in-house who knows how the organization works to guide the implementation team.

    What was our ROI?

    ROI is absolute.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    SAP has flexible licensing when negotiated correctly.

    What other advice do I have?

    When deploying SAP BW and BOBJ together, get an experienced practitioner who can educate and implement keeping the business users in mind, not just the deadline and processes of IT.

    There are a lot of limitation in SAP BW especially for scheduling, which can limit the full utilization of BOBJ, but there is a solution for it all if you think out of the box.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user415707
    Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    With some of these tools, the technical dependency is much lower​​.

    Valuable Features

    • Easy interface for business users
    • Advanced functionality in BI
    • It connects any data sources with SAP Business Objects tool

    Improvements to My Organization

    There are many tools that help the organization like SAP Lumira, SAP Business Explorer, SAP Design Studio and Dashboard to give you the summary and detailed analysis. With some of these tools, the technical dependency is much lower.

    Room for Improvement

    The Events feature needs to be improved, and I have already suggested this in the SAP Ideas portal. It is related to BOBJ.

    Use of Solution

    I've been using it for the last seven years.

    Deployment Issues

    We have had no issues with the deployment.

    Stability Issues

    The stability is again dependent on your sizing activity. If you don't have enough hardware and use it a lot, the tool will crash.

    Scalability Issues

    We have had no issues with scaling it for our needs.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    10/10 - technical support is brilliant.

    Initial Setup

    It's dependent to the client requirement. As I said earlier if sizing is done properly then you will not face any issues. If not, you may face issues if your utilization is high and resources are low.

    Implementation Team

    I performed multiple implementations and upgrade projects for the BOBJ and BODS tool.

    ROI

    It depends how the customer is utilising the solution.

    Other Advice

    Business users can learn it very fast because it is easy to operate.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user413388
    BI Application Consulting Manager at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    It reduces the manual process of gathering and creating reports into a much simpler and easier ways via self-service and dashboard management.​

    Valuable Features:

    It has got a broad range of options for SMBs and enterprise level companies.

    1. Dashboard Design (xcelcius) - this feature is a great tool to visualize information especially for enterprise dashboards in a board room and it can do what if analyses simply. The possibility of creating a specific dashboard format is unlimited.
    2. Web Intelligence - this feature is the most mature feature of Business Objects, and it has the capabilities of ad hoc reporting, pixel perfect reporting, formatted style, as well as complex and advanced calculations. It can also publicize reports to help with distribution
    3. Explorer - the best of breed for self service and visualization before SAP Lumira came in. The ease of use is unrivalled by the other features of Business Objects.

    Improvements to My Organization:

    My company uses this to monitor revenue and its achievement for every product, salesman, period and department. We also implement for financial statement purpose such as profit loss statement, balance sheet statement and opex report.

    Our sister company also use SAP Business Objects to monitor all the sales activities, stock, aging stock, and forecast.

    At the end of the day, Business Objects reduces the manual process of gathering and creating reports into a much simpler and easier ways via self-service and dashboard management.

    Room for Improvement:

    1. Annotation in the BI Launch pad. Previously there was the Discussion board function, but it was not good and no one used it. If SAP could create a functionality like annotation just like when we open in SAP BI Mobile application, it would be a great boost of functionality and collaboration feature.
    2. Clear roadmap, they need to simplify the tools and features
    3. Speedometer/Gauge in SAP Lumira
    4. Integration of Lumira with SAP BI Platform on a non-Windows OS
    5. Ability to Visualize in a browser SAP Lumira when it is uploaded into BI Platform

    Initial Setup:

    It was straightforward.

    Implementation Team:

    In-house development since I’m in a consulting company

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Sr Business Intelligence Analyst at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    MSP
    Web Intelligence has allowed our company to move to a self-service delivery model. The BW safety belt severely limits the performance of data through the DSL Bridge.

    Valuable Features:

    The dynamic scheduling and the user interactive features (input controls, drill down and drill up features) as well as the ability to export the reports to Excel or PDF are some of the best features.

    Improvements to My Organization:

    Web Intelligence has allowed our company to move to a self-service delivery model by allowing our internal clients to access, run and schedule reports dynamically without intervention of the BI team.

    Room for Improvement:

    The dynamic scheduling capabilities, the performance and ability to handle large data sets when connected via BICS to a BW warehouse needs a lot of work. The BW safety belt severely limits the performance of data through the DSL Bridge which makes Web Intelligence appear slow and unable to handle large data sets.

    Use of Solution:

    I have used SAP Business Objects for 4 years. I have used both the BICS direct connection to a SAP BW warehouse, as well as connecting to a Universe.

    Deployment Issues:

    No issues with deployment that I, as a functional user, was aware of.

    Stability Issues:

    Stability seems to be an ongoing issue with the tool and as much as that could be attributed to the tool, it can also be attributed to the configuration including the BICS connection, the DSL Bridge, and the tomcat server that it is installed on.

    Initial Setup:

    I joined after it was implemented.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    SAP BO/BW Consultant at KIIT University
    Vendor
    The query-prompt and query-refresh selectors are valuable features, though I've only been using it for 1 1/2 years.

    What is most valuable?

    1. Dynamic Visibility 2. Query Prompt Selector 3. Query Refresh Selector

    For how long have I used the solution?

    1.5 Years

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: Very Good Technical Support: Excellent

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No

    How was the initial setup?

    Straightforward

    What about the implementation team?

    Excellent. Through the vendor SAP India.

    What other advice do I have?

    A very creative tool to present the data in graphical and pictorial form, so as to make better decision for the growth of the…

    What is most valuable?

    1. Dynamic Visibility

    2. Query Prompt Selector

    3. Query Refresh Selector

    For how long have I used the solution?

    1.5 Years

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    Very Good

    Technical Support:

    Excellent

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No

    How was the initial setup?

    Straightforward

    What about the implementation team?

    Excellent. Through the vendor SAP India.

    What other advice do I have?

    A very creative tool to present the data in graphical and pictorial form, so as to make better decision for the growth of the organization.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Business Intelligence and Decision Support Team Leader at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    We had to deal with data quality problems on deployment, but we can now develop time-based, visualized analyses.

    What is most valuable?

    The ad-hoc reporting in a web environment is great.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have integration with 30 different systems now. Business users manual data-entry load has decreased, and data between different systems are consistent in almost-real time.

    We can develop time-based, visualized analyses with our BI platform, and four years ago, business users had to prepare their complex records in Excel every time they needed data reports. Now they only need to refresh reports. On the other hand, business users were only able to query data four years ago, but now their visions are changing and they are now performing data mining and forecast analyses.

    What needs improvement?

    Data mining and more visualized reports are the next steps.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for four years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    We had to deal with data quality problems.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has inadequate data analysis and data profiling, which has increased testing and user acceptance duration.

    BO Web Intelligence, v4.0 is more unstable than XI v3.x. We’ll upgrade to v4.1 in Q3.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There were issues in v4.0 SP1 but we are now using SP5 and it has improved.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No, we did not.

    How was the initial setup?

    Setup was straightforward, but the customization and implementation process was complex.

    What about the implementation team?

    We started with a vendor-partner, but now we have in-house team and still get consultancy advice from the partner.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    • Cognos
    • Microsoft SSIS 
    • SSRS

    What other advice do I have?

    First, perform an analysis of your business users' requirements.

    The data quality and your data warehouse models are the most important parts of a BI project. Design the model from both business requirements and source data. Make sure you involve business users from the beginning and explain the advantages of business intelligence to the data life-cycle well. Assign a short and attractive name to the web site and/or tool that users can remember easily and will like.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user26124
    Business Objects Admin/Developer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Web intelligence is valuable but SAP patch methodology is horrific

    What is most valuable?

    • Universe Designer
    • Web Intelligence
    • InfoView

    How has it helped my organization?

    Able to quickly create and publish reports using WebI. Eliminated most printed reports, they are now emailed or consumed online via InfoView. Has given users the ability to run reports on their own and get the information they need without having to ask IS.

    What needs improvement?

    Compatibility of Crystal Reports within BOE, especially when using universes and prompts – the prompts are turned into static values, not generated on-the-fly.

    Scheduling functions. We have to maintain separate lists and custom apps of report schedules so that we know what’s scheduled when, and who is getting what reports. If a person leaves and is on distribution lists, we have to manually go through and remove/replace them. There is also no easy way to bulk re-schedule reports.

    Report documentation must be manually maintained. Can’t EASILY find all reports using field X.

    WebI needs a report template function so that basic re-used elements and formatting don’t have to be re-created with every report. Also need to be able to do more with custom SQL and merged dimensions.

    SAP patch methodology is horrific, it was much better pre-SAP. As it is now, if you are on 6.1 and report a bug and it gets fixed in 6.2 you update and confirm it’s fixed. Then, a new release comes out and you update but because its cut-off date was prior to the date 6.2 fix, the fix isn’t included! Imagine trying to manage a system if you are waiting for multiple fixes. You can (we did!) end up with a system where major issues were finally fixed but other major problems not fixed and when the outstanding issues were finally resolved, the other previously addressed problems weren’t included in the newer update! It’s a maintenance and tracking headache.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Approximately nine years -

    BusinessObjects Enterprise 3.1 SP6 (CMC, LCM, WebI, CR, Universe Designer, Business View Manager, InfoView)

    (previously used XI R2)

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Original XI R2 install was done by consultants, the install was a disaster and non-functional and we had to completely start over. Tech support walked us through doing it ourselves and we’ve managed it since. Biggest issue of the upgrade to 3.1 was functionality change in WebI merged dimensions, all reports using them broke and had to be re-written. Looked at upgrading to 4.0 over a year ago and installed in a sandbox, but the product did not function out of the box. It required massive reconfiguration of the default settings to run bare bones and there was no upgrade path to multi-source universes. As a result, we haven’t upgraded yet.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Rarely and was always due to bugs in new SP or FP. Current patch level is very stable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    In a word, bad. Account reps constantly change and it’s impossible to find out who your current rep is. Phone calls and emails are not returned. At one point we were interested in buying additional licenses, but no one could/would help us. The licensing renewal process is severely lacking. They sent renewal emails to the wrong people, these are non-IS line staff not even on our account, and we have no idea how they even got their contact information. They refused to accept the PO that our accounting system generated, wanting one specially designed for them. Our purchasing agent, literally took a black sharpie and wrote all over the PO to meet their requirements. Who is the customer? Do they really want to make that sale? It doesn’t seem like it. Maybe we are too small for them to bother with?

    Technical Support:

    First level support is horrible. I avoid opening cases because of the bad experiences. I would typically find myself explaining very basic product functionality to the support personnel and in the end the response is always that they will consult their resources and get back to you. After going around in circles for days or weeks, the stock response is “it’s working as designed,” yet they can’t explain why. If you are lucky enough to get to higher level support (which is rare), they are very knowledgeable and able to quickly help get to the bottom of issues and find real solutions.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    No previous solution was used.

    What about the implementation team?

    Initially a vendor, recommended by BO. They had the product installed multiple times on the server, it was a mess and had to be completely blown away and reinstalled. Since then, we’ve done it in-house.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Sr. Data Warehouse Engineer at a real estate/law firm with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    The setup wizard is pretty straightforward but they need to make more support resources available.

    What is most valuable?

    • The "View where used" option is very useful when looking to see where work flows, data flows etc.. have been used throughout the project
    • Migration from one version to another because it's simple
    • Being able to query the metadata has been very useful

    How has it helped my organization?

    • The Business Object tool from SAP has provided the business with reports both in graphical and table (spreadsheet) form
    • Provided an easy way to send out reports on a schedule
    • ETL has been able to be implemented thanks to the many components available in the Data Services tool.

    What needs improvement?

    • Better community support
    • More support resources should be available
    • They need to make it possible to rename data stores once they are created.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used Business Objects together with Data Services for 10 months.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No issues encountered.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The amount of resources used has caused the system to fail from time to time. To resolve the issues, it is necessary to perform server and service restarts.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues encountered.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    5/10.

    Technical Support:

    5/10.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    When I came to work for the company they already had this solution. However, we did an upgrade to a more current version.

    How was the initial setup?

    The wizard is pretty straightforward. The configuration and connections were also aided by a wizard.

    What about the implementation team?

    A mix of both, before moving forward with the upgrade the vendor gave us suggestions on what we needed to do after looking at our current system. They were helpful in that initial stage of the upgrade, but the actual upgrade was done by an in-house team.

    What other advice do I have?

    Make sure you understand the needs of the business and to evaluate different products before committing to a specific one.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user79932
    Senior Manager - BI Head with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Vendor
    Comparison of SAP BO, Tableau, QlikView, Cognos, Microsoft, OBIEE and Pentaho

    Valuable Features

    1. SAP BO/BI

    • Enterprise scalability
    • Security
    • Ease of use
    • Semantic layer

    2. Tableau

    • Visualization
    • Data discovery
    • Turnaround time

    3. IBM Cognos

    • Enterprise scalability
    • Security
    • In-memory feature

    4. MS BI - Flexibility

    5. Pentaho - Open source but still enterprise grade

    6. QlikView

    • Data visualization
    • Turnaround time.

    7. OBIEE

    • Enterprise security
    • Semantic model

    Room for Improvement

    1. SAP BO/BI

    • Visualization

    2. Tableau

    • Scalability

    3. IBM Cognos

    • Ease of use

    4. MS BI

    • Visualization
    • Ease of use

    5. Pentaho

    • Ease of use
    • Semantic layer

    6. QlikView

    • Scalability

    7. OBIEE

    • Visualization
    • Database connectivities

    Use of Solution

    • I have used SAP for almost 12 years
    • Tableau – Rate 6/10 overall but 9/10 for visualization. I have used it for three years
    • IBM Cognos - Rate 7/10 and I have used it for three years
    • MS BI - Rate 5/10 and I have used it for two years
    • Pentaho - Rate 5/10 and I have used it for over five years
    • QlikView- Rate 7/10 and I have used it for two years
    • OBIEE – Rate 7/10 and I have used it for five years

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service:
    • SAP BO/BI - Below average
    • Tableau - Good
    • IBM Cognos - Average
    • MS BI - Average
    • Pentaho - Average
    • QlikView - Above average
    • OBIEE - Average
    Technical Support:
    • SAP BO/BI - Below average
    • Tableau - Good
    • IBM Cognos - Average
    • MS BI - Average
    • Pentaho - Average
    • QlikView - Above average
    • OBIEE - Average

    Other Advice

    There is no perfect solution or one size fits all. Be clear on the requirements that you are trying to meet with the tools and solutions and do a POC and thorough evaluation. Also most of the time a single vendor works better than using best of the breed solution.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user181065
    Business Objects Developer at a aerospace/defense firm with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    The product works well, but is only as good as the servers it uses.

    What is most valuable?

    Being able to utilize a connection to the database with a semantic layer, so it can be modified if needed to fit a particular need. The Universe does this quite well and allows for business names to be used in place of the cryptic database name.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Instead of downloading the information into a spreadsheet or something similar, you can now develop the graphs and drilldown, drillup needs for the different departments in an easy to use and functional method.

    What needs improvement?

    The development of the Design Studio to be ready for prime time. It is pretty well ready now just needs a few points finished to make it completely ready.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used this solution in different areas for about 17 years

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    A few, these were related mainly to the development team not realizing how much data they actually had.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Not really, there have been a few hiccups but that was mainly due to bandwidth since we have a centralized location for the servers now.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    For SAP it's not too bad, would always like to have it better of course.

    Technical Support:

    Very good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We used Cognos however the price was getting too prohibitive, and it was time for a change.

    How was the initial setup?

    Fairly straightforward but, not as easy as the vendor made it sound. As with most things it was not just a flip of the switch.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used a mix of both in-house and vendor teams.

    What other advice do I have?

    Take time to realize how much data you will be processing and how many users you will have, this will help you to scale the needs to the product. The product works well, but is only as good as the servers it uses.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user176949
    Senior BI Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    LifeCycle manager needs more stability but Web Intelligence for its ad-hoc ability is a valuable feature

    Valuable Features

    Web Intelligence for its ad-hoc ability and user interface for allowing business users to create reports without depending on the IT department. The ability to merge data from multiple databases also allows more flexibility and business solutions.

    Room for Improvement

    Since SAP purchased Business Objects, they have made some nice improvements, but have still not managed to seamlessly integrate and harmonize the many products they offer.

    Life Cycle manager needs to be more stable and easier to use. The Information Design tool could be improved when creating a multi-source universe for improved memory usage and SQL functions available.

    Use of Solution

    ? I have worked with the Business Objects tools since 1999, SAP BW since 2006 and SAP Business Objects since 2011 with XI3

    Deployment Issues

    No issues encountered.

    Stability Issues

    No issues encountered.

    Scalability Issues

    No issues encountered.

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service:

    Customer service for the most part is good and a part of that may be due to the size of the investment the company has with SAP. We were provided a customer advocate on site to escalate issues within SAP as necessary.

    Technical Support:

    The technical support has been a challenge when it comes to finding the correct support analyst who is familiar with how the various product components integrate. Many times we would get someone familiar with Crystal Reports but not with BW or Xcelsius etc.

    Implementation Team

    Business Objects XI 3 was implemented in house with assistance from various outside consultants. The upgrade to 4.0 was done the same way.

    ROI

    I don’t know the exact cost but one of the reasons the business chose to use Business Objects was that they could reduce licensing costs since it was already an SAP R/3 and BW customer.

    Other Solutions Considered

    Microstrategy and Web Focus were also considered back in 2010 when SAP bought and promoted the product for use with BW (replacing Web application designer). At the time none of the products were determined robust enough to use with BW as an enterprise level reporting tool.

    Other Advice

    Do not undersize the system hardware. Turn on all functionality for a product when installing – even if not anticipating using immediately. Spend ample time up front planning the security set up and only go with one option whether SAP, Enterprise, Windows AD or LDAP.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user5691
    Architect at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Bottom Line: Get the data foundation in shape first prior to implementing a reporting tool.

    What is most valuable?

    Flexibility and 'integratability'.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Can integrate the reference services of a metadata repository. Saves a ton of maintenance and ensures Data Quality.

    What needs improvement?

    Performance, but they all have room for this. Nevertheless, performance is highly dependent on data architecture and design as well as server capability. Far less so on the reporting tool that can fetch results; set once and re-use over several 'reports'.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using the solution since 1998.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Confessions ... this is hardware and networking and unix. All of the server based reporting products are complex to install and beyond my skills. Adapting these products to the foundational environments is always adventure-prone but most vendors provide substantial help in installing.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    With most of these products, BO, too, instability arises often when resources are challenged. So, in general, planning for capacity processing is a good way to keep systems stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    BO has had 1000's of individuals in organizations running BO when they want to. Most toolsets address scalability.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I am a consultant; even if I advise changing BI reporting toolsets, I do so reluctantly. It is more involved than at first glance, particularly if you have a user base. To date, I have not encountered a situation where I would advise changing BI toolsets that have some traction in the organization. At least not without a plan.

    What about the implementation team?

    Strongly recommend a vendor team for the initial period. Make sure they interface heavily with network, DB and DW folks.

    What was our ROI?

    ROI for the reporting product alone, as a component in a whole stack of things contributing to ROI, is in my view a minor contributor. How reports are developed and cast, the underlying data structures, data quality efforts, etc... these are the major contributors to ROI, not to mention the comprehension of the report viewer.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    This can vary from site to site. Depends greatly on folks at the company and on the licensing deal worked out.

    What other advice do I have?

    Category leaders have their strengths and weaknesses but as seen from the lens of the person using the tool. Some may want ease of use ... others a full-blown suite of DML tools. From this perspective, BO is as good as any of the other leading tools for reports. If anything, BO is great at controlling the user's interface eg highly user friendly capable. It does not come out of the box that way, but a competent BO wizard can make that happen on balance easier than other products. Finally, BO supports conserving server resources better than most. BI solutions are not about the tool. Any solution concerning the presentation of information has to focus on the business requirements and then a corresponding data foundation. Getting these is often a challenge at several levels and so I understand that there is this hope that maybe the toolset can make up for a lack of clear specifications. Bottom Line: Get the data foundation in shape first prior to implementing a reporting tool.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    BI Junior consultant at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    We found the deployment of SAP BO to be very complex, and the initial setup complex as well
    During my project work (by group & at school), I’ve had the opportunity to work with Qlikview & SAP BO. I've been working with SAP BO for 1 year. On a scale from 1-5 (1=worst, 5=best), I would give SAP BO a 1. My experiences with SAP BO were not positive. But on a technical level, the way BO works to handle the loop is very good.  In our company we have to build lots of complex things to answer simple requirements. Luckily, the solution still works, nonetheless this product has a lot of room for improvement: we found the deployment of SAP BO to be very complex, and the initial setup complex as well. If I were advising others about to implement this product, I would tell them to search for a company who specialize in implementing BI.

    During my project work (by group & at school), I’ve had the opportunity to work with Qlikview & SAP BO. I've been working with SAP BO for 1 year. On a scale from 1-5 (1=worst, 5=best), I would give SAP BO a 1. My experiences with SAP BO were not positive. But on a technical level, the way BO works to handle the loop is very good. 

    In our company we have to build lots of complex things to answer simple requirements. Luckily, the solution still works, nonetheless this product has a lot of room for improvement: we found the deployment of SAP BO to be very complex, and the initial setup complex as well. If I were advising others about to implement this product, I would tell them to search for a company who specialize in implementing BI.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Made reporting of data more consistent but SAP BO is expensive

    What is most valuable?

    The Universe in BO ensures consistent coding for business rules etc.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Made reporting of data from the ERP systems in Oracle more consistent.

    What needs improvement?

    None

    For how long have I used the solution?

    3 years - Blokker and BT, Netherlands

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    None

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    None

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    None

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: GoodTechnical Support: Good

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Reporting was previously done ad-hoc.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was not involved in the setup of the solution.

    What about the

    What is most valuable?

    The Universe in BO ensures consistent coding for business rules etc.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Made reporting of data from the ERP systems in Oracle more consistent.

    What needs improvement?

    None

    For how long have I used the solution?

    3 years - Blokker and BT, Netherlands

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    None

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    None

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    None

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: GoodTechnical Support: Good

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Reporting was previously done ad-hoc.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was not involved in the setup of the solution.

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented in-house with assistance from BO and consultants.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Not involved in the setup or costs of the product.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I was not involved in the decision-making process.

    What other advice do I have?

    Check out the competition - SAP BO is expensive.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user8181
    Business Development Staff at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Issues with BO
    Here are second thoughts: - BO development team release patch every two weeks. - Patchsets are released very often. - Every new patchset introduces several new bugs, - including many bugs regression. In small project I have raised several incidents, including one with high priority. I've been using BuisnessObjects since early 2000's. In my ( but not limited) opinion, after SAP took over control of product development, entire software quality gone worst

    Here are second thoughts:
    - BO development team release patch every two weeks.
    - Patchsets are released very often.
    - Every new patchset introduces several new bugs,
    - including many bugs regression.

    In small project I have raised several incidents, including one with high priority.

    I've been using BuisnessObjects since early 2000's.
    In my ( but not limited) opinion, after SAP took over control of product development, entire software quality gone worst

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Consultant at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Business Objects on Linux and SQL Server
    This is just a quick post to share a lesson learned while I was on an engagement where the client’s reporting environment was using SAP Business Objects (BO)running on Linux for reporting. We were doing a test to move the underlying data warehouse from another database platform to SQL Server 2008 R2. As we changed connections over, however, we quickly ran into a roadblock. It seems when we tried to make a connection to SQL Server via BO we got the error of ‘Unable to bind to Configuration Objects WIS 10901′. What made this situation strange is that from a Windows box you could connect but from Linux itself, it wasn’t having any of it. After some digging around we found we needed a third party ODBC driver to make this connection work. Read full post:…

    This is just a quick post to share a lesson learned while I was on an engagement where the client’s reporting environment was using SAP Business Objects (BO)running on Linux for reporting. We were doing a test to move the underlying data warehouse from another database platform to SQL Server 2008 R2.

    As we changed connections over, however, we quickly ran into a roadblock. It seems when we tried to make a connection to SQL Server via BO we got the error of ‘Unable to bind to Configuration Objects WIS 10901′. What made this situation strange is that from a Windows box you could connect but from Linux itself, it wasn’t having any of it. After some digging around we found we needed a third party ODBC driver to make this connection work.

    Read full post: http://www.sqlchicken.com/2013/05/business-objects-on-linux-and-sql-server/

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user7581
    Manager of Development at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Seven thoughts about SAP BusinessObjects BI Analytics Editions
    SAP BusinessObjects BI Analytics Editions provides to you the full spectrum of Analytics technologies and innovations which enables you to design, build and consume business friendly, agile, fast, quality and intelligent Analytics solutions for your business. Complete – because it provides the full spectrum of powerful, unified and innovative Business Analytics technologies and solutions for all your Analytics needs. Business friendly – because now your business can easily understand and learn how to prepare, build and consume Analytics. Agile – because now you can unleash the full potential of your data and get the largest business benefits and value by harvesting agility with the deepest involvement of your business. Intelligent – because now you can create the most…

    SAP BusinessObjects BI Analytics Editions provides to you the full spectrum of Analytics technologies and innovations which enables you to design, build and consume business friendly, agile, fast, quality and intelligent Analytics solutions for your business.

    Complete – because it provides the full spectrum of powerful, unified and innovative Business Analytics technologies and solutions for all your Analytics needs.

    Business friendly – because now your business can easily understand and learn how to prepare, build and consume Analytics.

    Agile – because now you can unleash the full potential of your data and get the largest business benefits and value by harvesting agility with the deepest involvement of your business.

    Intelligent – because now you can create the most intelligent Analytics that meets all your individual, departmental and Enterprise requirements.

    Fast – because now you can design, implement and consume Analytics at the speed of rapidly changing business.

    Quality – because now it is easier than ever to build trustworthy and reliable Analytics for your business.

    Analytics for all – Analytics should and must be accessible for all and everyone. And now it is…

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user6855
    CEO with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Business Objects - Big in Every Way
    Yes, SAP Business Objects (BO) will address your BI needs – no doubt about it. But so will many other products – MicroStrategy, Oracle, IBM Cognos and so on come to mind. Now BO is big. It is big on capability, big on footprint, big on required skill-sets and tends to be big on cost (consultants love it). SAP groupies will undoubtedly want to use BO, others might want to reflect more carefully. SAP BO comprises over twenty products that address everything from Microsoft Office integration through to data integration. It would be truly futile to provide details on these components, although it is worth pointing out that SAP Predictive Analysis uses the same visual front-end as the rest of the products – and this is a particularly useful feature as the boundaries between BI and data…

    Yes, SAP Business Objects (BO) will address your BI needs – no doubt about it. But so will many other products – MicroStrategy, Oracle, IBM Cognos and so on come to mind. Now BO is big. It is big on capability, big on footprint, big on required skill-sets and tends to be big on cost (consultants love it). SAP groupies will undoubtedly want to use BO, others might want to reflect more carefully.

    SAP BO comprises over twenty products that address everything from Microsoft Office integration through to data integration. It would be truly futile to provide details on these components, although it is worth pointing out that SAP Predictive Analysis uses the same visual front-end as the rest of the products – and this is a particularly useful feature as the boundaries between BI and data mining start to blur – as they inevitably will.

    Criticism of BO usually revolves around complexity and cost. Some of the newer BI entrants (specifically QlikView and Spotfire) provide much more manageable BI environments at a fraction of the cost. But then again they are not quite so all-embracing. As always it’s a trade-off. If you really want a huge monolithic BI environment then be prepared to pay for it. If you don’t, then accept that some of the bells and whistles might be absent – although an extensible BI environment (again QlikView and Spotfire) should make up for this. The choice is yours.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user7437
    Director of Data Analytics at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    Struggled with Excelsius
    At Amtrak we used BO. One of things we struggled with was Excelsius. It has a limitation- it expects you to aggregate your data before you can use it. Otherwise you'll have performance issues because it's not made to handle large volumes of data. To work around it we would have the aggregated Excelsius and drill downs would link back to a webi report to provide more detailed information. We were able to a provide a dashboard for our 9 board of directors, provided that we aggregated to a level that we weren't exceeding the limitations of Excelsius.

    At Amtrak we used BO. One of things we struggled with was Excelsius. It has a limitation- it expects you to aggregate your data before you can use it. Otherwise you'll have performance issues because it's not made to handle large volumes of data. To work around it we would have the aggregated Excelsius and drill downs would link back to a webi report to provide more detailed information. We were able to a provide a dashboard for our 9 board of directors, provided that we aggregated to a level that we weren't exceeding the limitations of Excelsius.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user7434
    VP of Data Analytics at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    Mixed response of success
    Been using BO since 2010 - mixed response of success High level points from our experience: Ad-hoc reporting capabilities are hit and miss: For lite needs such as simple quires, summary level, what happened last month- it's pretty good. For transactional level data we see universes that spin up for 3-10 minutes and then time out. Robustness of the universe doesn't allow us to do the types of detailed analysis that we would like to be able to perform. Static reporting works really well. We have reports that are scheduled and reports that are distributed via email. We also have a self service que- works well, well tested, great for our customers Dashboarding- we have leveraged the Excelisus product- we have 25 dashboards- includes simple graphs, more detailed analysis with limited…

    Been using BO since 2010 - mixed response of success

    High level points from our experience:
    Ad-hoc reporting capabilities are hit and miss:
    For lite needs such as simple quires, summary level, what happened last month- it's pretty good.
    For transactional level data we see universes that spin up for 3-10 minutes and then time out.
    Robustness of the universe doesn't allow us to do the types of detailed analysis that we would like to be able to perform.
    Static reporting works really well. We have reports that are scheduled and reports that are distributed via email. We also have a self service que- works well, well tested, great for our customers

    Dashboarding- we have leveraged the Excelisus product- we have 25 dashboards- includes simple graphs, more detailed analysis with limited drill through (can do drill throigh back in the BO report). What's really missing is the ability to do any clickthrough in the dashboard itself. It's parameter driven and a little clunky (unlike products such as Tableau). It doesn't give users (at least the way we implemented it) the flexibilty to interact with all the graphs around the dashboard
    Overall: It's great if you have a static customer base that has standard expectations who knows what they want and need to perform, but if they're trying to do self guided analysis, it's not a robust enough environment

    We're upgrading to 4.x and also moving from a unix platform to a linux one. We're looking to see some savings and performance improvement. We're also looking to take advantage of the new dashboarding capabilities in 4.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Ariel Lindenfeld
    Director of Content at IT Central Station
    Community Manager
    Gartner's Magic Quadrant report says that SAP customers report software quality as an obstacle to wider deployment
    In the February 2013 Magic Quadrant Report, Gartner says that SAP customers report software quality as an obstacle to wider deployment. Additionally, customers expressed dissatisfaction with SAP support. Are you a Real User of SAP BO? Have you found this to be the case in your organization? If you are a user or are evaluating SAP BO, add your comment below or write your own review. Share your opinion with our community!

    In the February 2013 Magic Quadrant Report, Gartner says that SAP customers report software quality as an obstacle to wider deployment. Additionally, customers expressed dissatisfaction with SAP support.

    Are you a Real User of SAP BO? Have you found this to be the case in your organization?

    If you are a user or are evaluating SAP BO, add your comment below or write your own review. Share your opinion with our community!

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user6969
    Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Considerations for Upgrading from Business Objects Enterprise 3.1 to 4.0
    I recently performed an upgrade from SAP Business Objects 3.1 to the SAP BI Platform 4.0. In the process, I noted a few idiosyncrasies you should consider if you plan to upgrade your 3.1 environment. Not all of these items may pertain to everyone but you should at a minimum consider them when planning your upgrade. These three items include Connections, Excel and Life Cycle Management (LCM) The first topic is Connections and only need addressed if you are using Universes in your current 3.1 environment. For those with only Crystal Reports in the environment that do not access Universes, this does not apply. Specifically, it addresses Custom Access Levels that you may currently have in the environment. In order for users to access Universes in 4.0 you need to ensure the following rights…

    I recently performed an upgrade from SAP Business Objects 3.1 to the SAP BI Platform 4.0. In the process, I noted a few idiosyncrasies you should consider if you plan to upgrade your 3.1 environment. Not all of these items may pertain to everyone but you should at a minimum consider them when planning your upgrade. These three items include Connections, Excel and Life Cycle Management (LCM).

    The first topic is Connections and only need addressed if you are using Universes in your current 3.1 environment. For those with only Crystal Reports in the environment that do not access Universes, this does not apply. Specifically, it addresses Custom Access Levels that you may currently have in the environment. In order for users to access Universes in 4.0 you need to ensure the following rights are granted within the Custom Access Level. Under the System category, you should see Connections and Relational Connections. Under these subheadings, ensure that Data Access is granted for both of these items. The migration will only enable rights to Connections, not Relational Connections. You will need to grant Data Access to the Relational Connections otherwise users will not be able to refresh Universes.

    The second topic is Excel. If you current 3.1 environment includes reports that are scheduled with a format of Excel, consider the following. During the upgrade, these reports get transformed to use the new DLL’s in the 4.0 environment. The reason this may present an issue is that the 3.1 environment saves to an .xls format whereas the 4.0 environment will save to an .xlsx format by default. You will have to determine if the organization has Microsoft Office 2007 or above in to order to read these files. If not, then you should note all of these schedules and change to the prior Excel format, or ensure that all of the client machines have the ability to read and open .xlsx formats.

    The final topic is relevant to almost everyone in the 4.0 environment, since LCM needs to be installed on the 4.0 environment. However, this specific ‘gotcha’ only occurs if you change the default port for LCM. The default port for LCM is 3690. In Support Pack 4 and above, Version Management is an item in the Central Management Console under Manage. If you changed ports and click on this item you will be prompted for a system, user name, a password and authentication mode. As part of the SAP Business Intelligence Platform installation using Windows, it installs a service called LCM_Repository which uses port 3690. The port number you enter during the installation of the Platform is only the port number that the platform looks for and not the port number in which the subversion tool gets installed by default. In order to change this port so that it can start the LCM_Repository server at the correct port number you need to use the regedit tool. Note that any time you edit the registry there are profound implications. Please only do so if you are sure you’ve exhausted other issues and know for a fact that this is your problem. Peform a search for the LCM_Repository service and you should see the command line as one of the registry items. Add the following item to the string in the registry key –listen-port PORT. Where PORT is the port number that you told the platform to look for during the installation.

    These are but three specific items to keep in mind when upgrading your SAP Business Objects Enterprise platform. Ideally you will provide ample time and attention to planning your upgrade prior to diving it. It will make your journey to the newest version much smoother and reduce downtime and other negative impacts.

    Disclosure: My company is partners with SAP Business Objects, Microsoft & QlikView

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user6792
    Project Manager at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    We extensively use the publication features of Crystal Reports and scheduling features of Web Intelligence. But we had some challenges with upgrades.

    Valuable Features:

    Business Object is truly a scalable and complete business intelligence solution for larger organizations. We have made use of the following components: Live Office, Xcelsius, Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence. We extensively use the publication features of Crystal Reports and scheduling features of Web Intelligence. For an organization that uses Excel extensively, the Live Office direct connect is fast, accurate and user friendly. Be sure to have some super users in the business who can develop Crystal Reports and well as Web Intelligence ad hoc queries. This will make the life of the IT developers and administrative employees much easier. Overall, with past experiences, I would have to rate our opinion of BOBJ very highly.

    Room for Improvement:

    On the downside, we have had some challenges with upgrades. Be sure to fully test every aspect in your development environment before applying any patches or service packs to Business Objects production servers. SAP was quick to respond to issues, but this still caused problems for users. The bugs we found were deep into software features (displaying column headings, formula logic, etc) and weren’t something we found in our extensive testing. I do admit we pushed the limits and had a lot of custom coding, but we expected these features to work and not break in future releases.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user6663
    BI Expert at a transportation company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    SAP Business Objects vs. Microsoft BI
    A quick look at the whole idea on another weblogs gives you a sense that all of them just talked about very brief things like report refresh feature in BO or cube feature in MS Analysis Service. I choose MS BI and I want to share my reasons and opinions on why I choose it and give you another quick but a little deeper compare on these two BI platforms. As we all know both Business Objects and Microsoft are big companies who are working on BI solutions and both have their own advantages. It’s not true to compare them in term of which one is better, we have to check what is our requirements and then depend on requirements take the decision whether MS or BO. A vision like this could help us relief from religious decisions against a software or technology. In a BI architect first of all we…

    A quick look at the whole idea on another weblogs gives you a sense that all of them just talked about very brief things like report refresh feature in BO or cube feature in MS Analysis Service. I choose MS BI and I want to share my reasons and opinions on why I choose it and give you another quick but a little deeper compare on these two BI platforms.

    As we all know both Business Objects and Microsoft are big companies who are working on BI solutions and both have their own advantages. It’s not true to compare them in term of which one is better, we have to check what is our requirements and then depend on requirements take the decision whether MS or BO. A vision like this could help us relief from religious decisions against a software or technology.

    In a BI architect first of all we have the data store level, I mean the storage of the raw data not the stage or olap cubes or universe data source, I mean the first place of our data. This is important to know that where your raw data is and what is the type of storage used to store them. Whether file system or Access or Fox database or a complex database solution like oracle, sqlserver or a web service can made our place of raw data. We have to check our tools against them; check to see which one gives us a smooth way to transfer them among ETL process to destination. So take a look at what Business Objects gives us.

    There is a Data Integration platform in Business objects but the problem is that you have to buy that separately because it is not shipped with the BI system. In Microsoft sqlserver enterprise you have all the services and features needed for this part of the game. SSIS is the service that sqlserver deliver for data extract, integration and load. Both product gives you the ability to enhance the data quality and data cleansing portion of your integration phase, but when we down to details things change a little to the Microsoft side, because of the ability of using your Dot.Net knowledge to write complex parts of ETL process you have more room to think and do whatever you want in your process, and in BO side it is always look simple and it’s really not easy to take complex situation into it. There are advantages and disadvantages on this. First you can do many things with the ability of dot.net code but it could give you complexity in your development so you have to decide on your situation, if things looking normal both could fit your need, but if the situation is not stable and you have to make yourself ready for the changes in future it’s better to get the power of SSIS and spend a little more time development today to create a powerful and easily changeable mechanism that could help you in future. You can also do that with Business Objects Data Integration but you have to spend more bucks for the development and changes of ETL processes because development cost in Business Objects solutions is always a nightmare for a project.

    At this point we have a brief understanding of differences in ETL process between two vendors, so it’s good time to take a look back to the source database. Here is a very quick answer, if you use mostly MS products to store your transactional data then take your decision and move to MS for a robust and compatible BI platform. Business Objects don’t have a database system and it always used other database solutions to store data for its universe.

    So guess what happen ! from an administrator perspective performance tuning is somehow problematic ! since we should use other database systems we should use different technics for each database systems. And this is one of the areas that MS wins the competition because when you use Microsoft platforms there lots of joint mechanism for performance considerations.

    Before the SQL Server 2012 we have SSAS with its famous aggregated cubes, because of the nature of SSAS in previous versions we couldn’t call it a semantic layer, here is a little why. A semantic layer provides translation between underlying data store and business-level language(Business semantic that business users familiar with). There was no actual translation in previous release of SSAS. Perhaps we had some difficulties over SSAS to understand for a business user. So Microsoft change its approach in SSAS 2012 from delivering a complex understandable solution to end users to a true semantic layer like what we has in Business Objects that called Universe. So from now MS BI users can use a powerful toolset like Microsoft Excel and use their existing knowledge to interact with semantic layer. What Microsoft do in backyard is to create aggregations in memory so the performance of this approach is really high ! I don’t want to deep dive into what Microsoft do in backyard in this post but it would be one of my next topics. (sounds like advertisement :D )

    I talked about aggregations so know that in BO there are no facility for aggregation tables, so you have to deal with DBAs to create aggregation tables manually and integrate them into the Universe.

    One of the important aspects of a BI system is the learning curve of the solution, it was always the slogan of the Business Object that learning curve is very low ! yes for end users it is not hard to interact with Universe. BUT ! the thing that I say here is the problem of every BI platform from Microsoft to BO or Cognos that deliver Semantic layer, it is very easy for a user to get the wrong answer, because everything is behind the Universe or Semantic Model and know that tracking from report back to the base data is a Non-trivial task. So be aware about letting users create whatever they want with their own knowledge. There should always an IT professional observing the whole process. So never think about a fully out of the box solution, because you will shortly find it on Mars ! or your users may have the chance to take decisions based on wrong calculations and find their way to Mars again :D

    Another important aspect of a BI systems is the cost of it, about the Business Objects we can definitely say that it is expensive and for sure Microsoft could be expensive ! but how can we decide ' the answer is to compare the detail parts, there are 4 main parts Database, ETL, Semantic Layer and Reporting or user interaction layer. If you choose to go over BO you have to find heads for your data warehouse, database solution and Java skills or tomcat or other J2EE platform professionals for ETL and development phase and BO specific heads for Universe Modeling, Design, Implementation, perhaps you need security administration and if you want to integrate your Active Directory with this platform it is problematic and integrating with other LDAP platforms is a nightmare ! so be aware of these costs. The point of Microsoft solution is that we can use our in house knowledge like Dot.Net and SqlServer, SharePoint, Windows Server and these knowledge are transferable to other skills. But with BO we need headcount dedicated to BO (Universe Design, Implementation, Maintenance, Security) since BO skills are not transferable to other skills, those extra heads blow the project’s budget ! Microsoft BI platform is a more manageable, more secure and less expensive solution, I see the BO as a consultant dream, as an endless font of billable hours :D

    Conclusion

    I decide to go over Microsoft BI platform but I would not suggest anyone at first place to choose Microsoft. This is really depend on the nature and scale of the project and what you did and what technologies you have used in past but a quick look gives an idea that Microsoft’s platform is looking more robust and coherent in different parts so it can be a very good and convenient choice and perhaps after the release of SQL Server 2012 and its BI Semantic layer the answer is more easier and acceptable than before.

    I also would like to hear about your experience on either of these solutions.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user6462
    Architect at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    Deployment is easy but scalability and stability of the product has been cumbersome
    On a scale from 1-5 (1=worst, 5=best), how would you rate this product overall compared to similar products? - 3.5 For how long have you used this product? - 2 Yrs Which features of this product are most valuable to you? - Scheduling Reports and Features supported to schedule reports. Can you give an example of how this product has improved the way your organization functions? - Users are getting reports that run for hours offtime on their inbox and file share devices or Shared Portals. What areas of this product have room for improvement? - Ease of use and understanding. Did you encounter any issues with deployment, stability or scalability? - Deployment is easy but scalability and stability of the product has been cumbersome. Before choosing this product, did you…

    On a scale from 1-5 (1=worst, 5=best), how would you rate this product overall compared to similar products?
    - 3.5

    For how long have you used this product?
    - 2 Yrs

    Which features of this product are most valuable to you?
    - Scheduling Reports and Features supported to schedule reports.

    Can you give an example of how this product has improved the way your organization functions?
    - Users are getting reports that run for hours offtime on their inbox and file share devices or Shared Portals.

    What areas of this product have room for improvement?
    - Ease of use and understanding.

    Did you encounter any issues with deployment, stability or scalability?
    - Deployment is easy but scalability and stability of the product has been cumbersome.

    Before choosing this product, did you evaluate other options? If so, which ones?
    - Yes. Tableau

    How would you rate the level of customer service and technical support?
    - Horrible

    Was the initial setup straightforward or complex? In what ways?
    - Being in this technology for more years I'm impressed with the straightforward setup approach of their recent releases.

    Did you implement through a vendor team or an in-house one? If through a vendor team, how would you rate their level of expertise?
    - In House.

    What advice would you give to others looking into implementing this product?
    - Great Product but requires attention on their individual needs.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user5802
    BI Expert at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Comparison of Business Objects & Cognos
    Most of my experience is with Business Objects. I have done a little with Cognos Elite also. Comparatively I find Business Objects much easier to work with when it comes to customizing the presentation of the data. Neither of the two products does a drill-down as well as you can in Crystal Reports, but they both allow you to create multiple views of the data on one page. Business Object WEBI reports allow you to use multiple universes and multiple report pages in one WEBI document. Both system will force you to use another layer between the presentation and data layers. In Cognos it is called Framework Manager. In WEBI it is called Universes. Both Universes and Framework Manager define the structure and connections the are usable to the presentation layer. Both middle layers can connect…

    Most of my experience is with Business Objects. I have done a little with Cognos Elite also. Comparatively I find Business Objects much easier to work with when it comes to customizing the presentation of the data. Neither of the two products does a drill-down as well as you can in Crystal Reports, but they both allow you to create multiple views of the data on one page. Business Object WEBI reports allow you to use multiple universes and multiple report pages in one WEBI document.

    Both system will force you to use another layer between the presentation and data layers. In Cognos it is called Framework Manager. In WEBI it is called Universes. Both Universes and Framework Manager define the structure and connections the are usable to the presentation layer. Both middle layers can connect to any kind of database or even spreadsheets on an accessible drive.

    Both products will force you to use their WEB portals as an interface into the presentation layer. Both allow you to schedule and deliver reports in multiple formats and in a variety of means. Links to reports, send the reports via e-mail, only send reports with data the user can see, and send alerts when reports fail are just a few of the common things that can be done.

    When it comes to ease of use, Business Objects is a lot more intuitive and straight forward. Cognos seems to make you take a lot more steps to get the same results. Some of those steps are tough to figure out. The term "clunky" comes to mind when I think of working in Cognos.

    Both products offer very similar concepts and tools to summarize and chart the data in a report.

    Licensing costs and how you want to architect your server infrastructure are going to be the key driver to which product fits your organization better. Business Objects offers the advantage of another more static reporting tool with Crystal Reports.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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